Ann Braden
Courtesy photo
Ann Braden

Gun safety advocacy group to honor its founder

GunSense Vermont celebrates Braden as the first recipient of its Leadership and Courage Award

BRATTLEBORO — GunSense Vermont, a nonprofit, non-partisan advocacy organization for common-sense gun safety measures, will host a public reception to award the inaugural Leadership and Courage Award to Brattleboro resident and author Ann Braden.

Braden founded GunSense Vermont following the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 children and six educators were killed by a gunman.

The event will take place at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center on Wednesday, Sept. 6, at 6 p.m.

"Ann Braden's dedication has been instrumental in propelling GunSense Vermont's mission forward and advocating for the safety and well-being of our community," said GunSense Vermont Executive Director Conor Casey in a news release.

"As founder, she has been a driving force in shaping the organization's mission and fostering its impact on reducing gun violence," he continued. "There is no one more deserving of GunSense Vermont's inaugural Leadership & Courage Award than Ann."

The guest speaker at the event will be U.S. Rep. Becca Balint, D-Vt., a strong advocate for progress in implementing common-sense gun safety legislation. While she was majority leader of the Vermont State Senate, Balint led the passage of the first gun safety laws in the state's history, aimed at keeping Vermont children, communities, and survivors of abuse safe.

Others recognizing Braden from the podium will include Grace Walter, who, along with her hometown of Newtown, was forever changed at the hand of a gun when a man entered Sandy Hook Elementary School. Walter has volunteered with GunSense Vermont on and off since 2018.

Bob Williamson, a GunSense Vermont board member, will present the Leadership and Courage Award to Braden. He became a gun reform activist 35 years ago when a mentally ill woman went on a shooting spree in his children's elementary school in Winnetka, Illinois. Six youngsters were shot and one killed.

In addition to founding GunSense Vermont, Braden is a former middle school social studies teacher and author of three children's books. She co-hosts a podcast, "Lifelines: Books that Bridge the Divide," with Pakistani American author Saadia Faruqi. She lives in Brattleboro with her husband and two children.

The statewide grass roots organization that Braden founded 10 years ago has played a pivotal role in passing new laws in Vermont, including raising the age to purchase firearms to 21, limiting high-capacity magazines, waiting periods for firearms purchases, and safe storage regulations.

Attending the $50 event will be elected officials, community leaders, and concerned citizens - including some young folks. The Porch Café will cater hors d'oeuvres and Windham Wines will offer a cash bar.

Parking will be available next door at 28 Vernon St.

For tickets and more information about GunSense Vermont, visit For more about the event, call 802-365-4106.

This News item was submitted to The Commons.

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